Thanks to my colleagues at Erie 1 BOCES, my team has been working with Jim Knight on instructional coaching for the past year. Today, our last day with Jim, we have been spending time on content planning. The collaborative nature of our work has been powerful, but even more than that, we have been thinking about how our work with adults should model the work that those adults in turn do with their students.
The work on developing learning maps today was a big "a-ha" not only for me but for members of my team as we are beginning to plan for our work with districts next year. While we have always modeled our planning after our own planning experiences in the classroom, making our thinking transparent together as quite the learning process.
If you review the Content Planning handout from Jim (which is very detailed) you will see that we began with developing guiding questions and then developing a learning map that would be used to make the learning transparent with students. What is very powerful are the samples around writing - and how to create a map for direct instruction of writing.
I say powerful because so many times, I think we make assumptions when teaching writing. Assumptions about what students can do, assumptions about what they have learned and assumptions about what we as teachers know about teaching writing.
I will be working on more learning maps for teaching writing and post them for feedback. In the meantime, check out the samples that Jim provides and let me know what you think!